FimFiction Link - Short ID: 174671/seeking-power
Published: Apr '14 — Apr '21
At time of writing, the fic is on hiatus after chapter 30. The fic is a rewrite of the original. The original is no longer on fimfic and can be forgotten. As with the original, I think it's missing the Comedy tag. Unlike the original, I don't feel like the comedy and adventure elements are in conflict. There's no clear shifting of gears as there was there. I'd say that mystery becomes more frequent than comedy after the point where the rewrite ended and original writing started (specifically, the snowball fight), but that's not even close to saying that the genre mix is an issue. The writing has been improved all around and I didn't notice any sections that clearly lacked an editor. Another improvement over the original is the replacement of old OCs with canon characters that didn't exist or weren't developed during the original writing. I think that Octavia has also been dropped completely (I recall some weird arc where she was called gay because the changelings had been exposed?) and there's almost no LessWrong-style Rationality to be seen. If there's a fault in the writing anywhere, it's the lack of awesome moments. I can't seem to point to any moment in the story and say it was a 10/10. Fortunately, I also can't point out any terrible moments. It's as if the fic is at a totally consistent level of quality.
The plot surrounds Archmage Twilight having to gather the elements and bearers for them to battle Nightmare Moon, who is due to start canon's episode 1 soon. That's really all that I need to say to give you the required context.
If there's one reason to read the fic, it's that the author has blatantly thought the world through. There's a lot of issues that you run in to with the canon plot around Nightmare Moon, e.g. why Celestia would put so much faith in Twilight to do so much with so little notice, but the author has done her best to resolve them and use them as a basis for expanding the world of MLP. The author doesn't stop here. Instead they add features like extra powers for the Elements of Harmony, expand on what an alicorn is, and make the world work with Luna able to dreamwalk while banished. They also attempt to fix character-backstory issues that are inherited from canon. They try to make Rarity make more sense (her canon character has little reason to be in Ponyville), explain why Rainbow Dash isn't in the Wonderbolts (even in Season 1, she's far too talented to not already be a member), and try to make Twilight's family make sense (Cadence's existence, or rather her lack of it prior to ACW, fucks things up in canon). Changelings and Sunset Shimmer also have a good level of involvement, as do some early series background ponies. I admittedly see no reason for those last few other than the author obviously enjoying writing them.
1 / 2
Despite the above, I can't call this a fix fic and it's rather strange to me that I can't. If this were a Harry Potter fic, I'd be calling it unoriginal and saying that the fix fic nature detracts from the author's goal of telling a story. This isn't really hypothetical. I've read the author's 'Harry and Hermione Starring in: The Digital Revolution' and gave exactly that criticism. I'm unsure what makes this fic different. Presumably the MLP world is simply less broken than Potter's? Or maybe it's the comedy focus? I bet it's that fucking "if you notice it's a rational fic, then it's not a good fic" epiphany that we'd had hundreds of times before. Maybe they just AU'd heavily enough?
On the topic of the author, she is a Computer Science professor with a PhD in it and undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics. I mention this because, if you're not at least some of those, some jokes will be inaccessible. I am some of those and some of them still gave me pause. There's also a few that assume basic anime knowledge. Her usual obsession with motherhood is still present in this fic - I've said in the past that I think she has major internal struggles over the impact that academic careers have on motherhood - but isn't an issue. There's probably something deep to be said about how Twilight takes a mentor role in this fic, written later in the author's life, rather than the student role she has in TMA. As well as I feel I know this author, that kind of psychoanalysis isn't in my skill set so I will say no more on that. That said, I really think that I could dig in to this fic like my English teacher would've wanted me to and spin some wild tale like "Twilight's abandonment of the DnD group symbolises the author's understanding that her career has robbed her of the ability to make friends. This is highlighted by the DnD sessions occurring only in Twilight's dreams, showing that...". You get the idea.
So, my overall thoughts? The fic is well written and has no points where it's clearly lacking in quality, but I worry that I'll simply forget it. I tried my best to make notes of anything noteworthy as I was reading and I didn't even hit 1,000 words of notes. That absolutely shouldn't happen when trying to read over 300,000 words with a critical eye. The one big reason to read it is the world building, but that alone doesn't make a good story. I really thought that I'd have more to say, positive or negative, but nothing comes to me. I presume the fic will come off hiatus once the author is done writing their dinosaur neo-noir original story.